Geodesist read plans on construction siteLand use and zoning law is the regulation of the use and development of public and private real estate.  Commercial development often ignites a passionate community response. Issues frequently involve complex local zoning, land use, and environmental issues, often resulting in litigation. We assist property owners with applications for conditional use permits and variances under local zoning laws, and represent property owners in eminent domain actions and real estate tax appeals to local boards of revision. Leppla Associates has experiences three decades of history of dealing with major land use issues administratively and in the courts.

Zoning is generally the most common type of land use regulation, which is used by municipalities to regulate local property development. Other land use legal issues include easements, trespassing, and eminent domain.

Zoning regulations generally divide a municipality (such as a city) into residential, commercial and industrial zones (Though mixed use, more restrictive,  “planned developments” are now far more common).  Zoning laws set specific prerequisites for the styles of construction permitted in each “zone”, and also prescribing maximum heights and widths, signage allowed, location of utility lines, parking requirements, setbacks and various other regulations.

An easement is a limited, non-ownership interest in another party’s property.  For example, one party may get an easement to gain lawful access to their neighbor’s driveway if that is the only way to get to their house.

Eminent domain law is the right of a municipality (or its agent) to appropriate private property for public use.  Eminent domain is invoked, for example, when the government seizes property to build a freeway or a park. The government entity must give the property owner fair compensation in return.

We commonly represent clients in the following types of cases:

  • Compliance with zoning regulations
  • Disputes between neighbors
  • Negotiations with municipalities
  • Real estate development
  • Permitting issues